Facts and Feelings from Wall Street to Main Street

The biggest heart string issue any candidate can use to influence votes is the economy.  The last few days have been a testament to this.  While Obama uses “middle class” as a noun, verb and adjective in every speech, McCain has been trying to reassure Americans about the fundamentals of the economy.  In light of the polls today, it would seem Obama is the better string player.  But does he have the leadership and policies to back up what he is saying on the stump? 

First to leadership.  It was reported today that the Democratically controlled Congress is considering another recess in light of the current economic situation.  The reason being that they don’t know what to do and don’t want to act in a manner that will cause any more harm.  Obama himself has yet to take a position on the bailout of AIG saying he needs more information before he can react to what happened yesterday. 

While it is true that John McCain is part of the same Congress that is considering another recess, it is also true that he is a member of the party that stayed in the House to push for a vote on energy reform after the last recess was called by Speaker Pelosi.  The Republican representatives stayed in the House for days after the recess was called, lights out, trying to put pressure on the Democrats to allow an up or down vote on energy reform.  

Unlike Obama,  John McCain has taken a position on the bailout of AIG.  According to ABC he is now a flip-flopper because he supports the bailout after he opposed it previously.  But they miss the point.  John McCain changed his position because he was able to see that if AIG was not given help in some manner-federal,private or the combination of both that has happened-the economy and millions of Americans who are associated with AIG in some way would have been decimated by even a partial failure.  Call it a flip flop if you like but leaders know when and how to act, even if acting goes against what they believe. 

Now, the policies.  Once again  these are policy statements directly out of Obama’s “Blueprint for America”  and the expanded Issues section of the John McCain website.  They are not the soundbites or anecdotes candidates use on the stump. 

  Obama’s plan starts with, what else, the middle class.  While Obama is fond of talking about his tax cut and it’s perceived ability to help 95% of Americans, his plan does not address who is middle class.  He does specify a tax credit that would be equal to $500 per individual or $1,000 per working family in what he calls the “Making Work Pay” tax credit.  He says it would completely eliminate taxes for 10 million Americans and provide 150 million workers relief. 

Obama also will simplify tax filings,  allowing taxpayers the option of signing a returning a pre-filled tax form sent by the IRS.  No itemization, no W, I or A forms, just sign a return.  Accountants beware, estimates are you will lose approximately $2 billion in fees when this happens.  Perhaps the accounts will need retraining after they lose their jobs, but not to worry Obama has provided for that in his plan. 

First of all, if you take a job at McDonalds, your minimum wage will rise indexed to inflation.  Simply put, small businesses are forced to pony up money every year for every worker, NOT based on performance.  In addition Obama will raise the Earned Income Tax Credit so that you can work full-time and still raise a family.  Not only that but Obama will expand FMLA to companies that employ as little as 25 people and allow time off for just about anything.  While I can’t say that allowing time off under FMLA to see your kids soccer games is a bad idea, I can say that his idea to make states and companies to pay for FMLA time is a bad one.  But to this end Obama has promised $1.5 billion to the states to help them pay for the new FMLA rules. 

If you decide, as an out of work accountant, that you want to enter the manufacturing field, Obama is going to spend untold (literally, he has no number) dollar amounts on new job training programs.  Using his education policy as a backdrop, most of this retraining will happen at community colleges where education will be free under an Obama administration.  If you decide to stay at home and work, Obama will give you high speed Internet as he spends countless (again no number) dollars on companies who provide Internet connection services. 

Of course Obama has a record to back up his economic policies and tax cuts.  In 2007 he was a cosponsor on a bill (his site says he introduced it) by Dick Durbin called the Patriot Employer Act.  The bill currently sits in committee. Did I mention the Congress that controls these committees is controlled currently by Obama’s own party.  He also cosponsored the STOP FRAUD Act to help homeowners, it also sits in committee

Sen McCain’s proposals start off with a balanced budget by 2013.  To achieve this McCain will:

  • make reasonable growth a reality
  • control spending
  • use bipartisanship like (hold on ) Bill Clinton did in the 90’s to pass a budget

In assuring growth Mccain believes that small businesses will benefit the economy the most.  His proposals of low taxes and low rates on capital gains will allow those businesses to reinvest in their own future.  Also small businesses would be able to deduct equipment and technology investments they make to improve their businesses.  In addition to allowing businesses to reinvest in themselves, McCain is proposing reducing the Estate Tax to 15% which would allow more businesses to stay in the family.  In addition the Bush tax cuts would stay in place and may even increase for all Americans. 

Another way John McCain can assure growth is the implementation of his energy policy.  Under his plans, which include ALL types of energy,  new jobs would be created in America to build and support new energy development.  In nuclear power alone it is estimated that over 700,000 jobs would be created under McCain’s plan.  Retraining is also a priority in a Mccain Presidency and would be fully supported. 

The second part of McCain’s plan to balance the budget is to control spending.  John McCain’s efforts to control spending are famous and easily found on his congressional website.  But in addition to earmarks, John McCain has proposed a freeze on all non-defense and non-veteran discretionary spending thus allowing time to plan and prioritize all spending programs.  And as we draw down in Iraq and costs are reduced in the war, much of that money will go to deficit reduction, not universal health care. 

One other point on spending.  Much has been made about the “Bridge to Nowhere” in Alaska.  Sarah Palin has been criticised for supporting the earmark before she was Governor and then voicing her opposition to it as Governor.  John McCain voted “NO” to this earmark (H.r. 3, CQ Vote#220: Adopted 91-4:R 48-4;D42-0, I 1-0,7/29/2005)and was only one of 4 Senators to do so, Obama voted for it.  When the money was allocated anyway, Palin did take the $36 million allocated BUT directed her Transportation Department to use it for infrastructure improvements in the state.  This is in keeping with improvements sought after the government directed states to look at all of their infrastructure after the bridge collapse a few years ago.  Here are two source to verify the bill-

http://www.johnmccain.com/mccainreport/Read.aspx?guid=ab24d6d6-f796-4851-99ac-451d7567a5cc

This site shows Obama and McCain’s votes on HR 3

http://projects.washingtonpost.com/congress/109/senate/1/votes/220/

Finally, John McCain’s record of bipartisanship shows that he can easily work with all members of Congress to make this happen.  Just as Democrats and Republicans are coming together this week to slow the bleed in the financial sector, Sen McCain has worked with Ted Kennedy, Joe Lieberman and others to introduce legislation that, many times his own party did not support. 

There is more to the McCain plan but I have gone on long enough (Printed text for McCain goes on for 14 pages, Obama has 5).   Figuring out what each candidate is saying on the trail is difficult.  Sen Obama clearly uses emotion over reason and Sen McCain tries reason more than he should sometimes.  But after writing my longest post yet, the bottom line is this.  On May 25, 2006 John McCain spoke to the Banking Committee and warned of the failure of Fannie and Freddie as well as others (AIG).  Franklin Raines and Jim Johnson, now advisers to Obama, were executives in the banking industry then.  Chris Dodd (D) was the ranking committee member and killed the resolution John McCain and others proposed.  Where was the leadership of Obama and the Democrats then?

Again look at the comments:

http://hotair.com/archives/2008/09/17/mccains-attempt-to-fix-fannie-mae-freddie-mac-in-2005/

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2084424/posts

 (Thank you to all sites listed)

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Send Mexico the bill

When Jose Medellin was executed last week it was a good day.  This is the man who, while in America illegally, helped beat,rape and execute two girls, ages 14 and 16, for over an hour in 1993 then boasted to friends what he had done before being arrested.   He was tried and convicted under the law and sentenced accordingly.  Officials, including Presiddent Bush, argued against his execution because he was a Mexican national, ie citizen,  and go against some international treaties.  The officials stated that an execution would violate  World Court rules that establish access to a national’s consular officials.  However, the Supreme Court upheld the execution and ruled in favor of American justice. 

Since 1993, Medellin has cost the taxpayers of Texas countless dollars.  He was given shelter, meals and all of the rights to appeal the American justice system provides.  If officials in Texas were smart they would itemize the last 15 years of services for this man and send Mexico the bill, afterall he was a citizen of that country not ours. 

The case currently taking shape in Shenendoah, PA where several kids beat an illegal immigrant to death, is also one that deserves attention.  The kids in this case were wrong and should stand trial and face the punishments  afforded by the Judicial system.  The man’s status has nothing to do with justice in this case.

Published in: on August 7, 2008 at 10:57 am  Leave a Comment  
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Who’s on my $20 now?

In the past few weeks Obama has become the embodiment of the hopes of America, he has redecorated the White House with a new basketball court and less TVs,  and has taken a Presidential trip overseas.  Now he has cast himself as a new face of American money. 

On Thursday, Obama reiterated his charge that the Bush and McCain team (?) were trying to make voters afraid of him.  In several speeches, Obama accused the Republicans of saying “You know, he’s not patriotic enough, he’s got a funny name, you know, he doesn’t look like all those other Presidents on the dollar bills.”  Then in defense of the statement, David Axelrod and others have been saying that McCain started it.  The question is HOW?

Sen McCain has never used a racial slur against Obama.  Ted Kennedy was the one who got mixed up and called him Osama in an introduction he was making to voters.  Obama was the one who gave “The Race Speech” to let voters know he was black after the Clinton’s made several reportedly racial remarks.  The worst Sen McCain has done was to liken him to celebrity’s who happened to be white women.  It has also been widely stated, almost reverently at times,  that only in America could we be facing the choice of a Presidential candidate with the middle name of Hussein. 

Sen Obama is again deciding to use the race card in this campaign to draw attention to himself.  In the same breath he is trying to paint a picture of a McCain Presidency as a third Bush term,  a charge Obama is using to incite the same fear he is accusing McCain of promoting.  Yet, in every attack McCain has used there has been real policy differences discussed.  Obama has only used his “Hopes and Dreams” scenario in a majority of his ads.  The accusation that McCain was the one who started this race issue is LUDACRIS (hear HIS new song?) and baseless. 

If Sen Obama wants a real discussion of what Americans are afraid of he should look at his own policies, not his race.  On energy, Sen Obama does not support any measures that will help Americans in the long or short term.  Offshore drilling is a scheme to him, yet when the ban was lifted by President Bush two weeks ago the price of a barrel of oil and the price at the pump dropped.  Nuclear is risky for Obama yet produces clean power at a much higher rate and is safer than traditional power plants.  And incentives to find alternative power sources are nothing more than political pandering to Obama.

On the issue of Iraq, Sen Obama wants us out of the country in as little time as possible.  He did not and still does not support the surge despite its ongoing success (10 soldiers and 510 civilians died in July, a 75% drop from the same period last year).  He disagrees with the commanders on the ground, possibly because of his extensive knowledge of the military, and would only listen to them if it fits into his plans as Commander in Chief.  Obama also wants to refocus our military might to Afghanistan, citing the surge of violence there in recent months, but also wants to meet with Iran and Syria with no preconditions to discuss options in the region. 

On health care, Sen Obama wants to give coverage to everyone to the tune of billions a year.  Not a bad idea except that the cost would be prohibitive.  Obama says not to worry that the money being spent on Iraq would fund his initiative.  What Obama does not say is that the money being used for Iraq is already being taken out of various Government agencies who would have to continue to operate on a lower budget or cut services even more.  To fund the war each agency has to give a portion of its budget back to the government for war funding, so the $10 billion we are spending in Iraq is not the free money Obama sees. 

On the issue of the economy, Sen Obama supports tax increases for “wealthy” Americans but has yet to define who will be defined as “wealthy”.  He supports PAYGO policies and the limiting earmarks (good) but also supports more stimulus payments with no spending cuts.  Obama also wants to tax windfall profits, again without an explanation of what a windfall profit margin is, and raise the minimum wage to what some call a living wage.  Both of these practices would raise prices across the board and further weaken the economy by hurting the small businesses that run our country.  In addition his guarantee of paid sick days for all workers will further weaken small businesses who are just starting out and can not provide such benefits. 

Sen Obama was again partially correct when he said that the Republicans were trying to scare voters.  However his insuation that McCain and his supporters are using race to frighten voters was off the mark.  The majority of voters do not care about his race or ethnic background and Obama is the only candidate who highlights his diversity and calls it an adversity.  What voters are scared of is not who is on their money but rather who will help them earn and keep more of their money.  In that scenario, voters should be scared of calling Obama Mr. President.

Lovely Qeshm Island

Obama, trying to scare Americans into the voting boothin November and pull the lever with his name,  announced the prospect of $12/gallon gasoline.  His prediction came as he was discussing Iran and the threat he now sees that country poses. 

In a classic Obama GOTCHA! move, the Senator predicted that oil could shoot up to over $300 a barrel and gas would cost $12/gallon if Iran was attacked and they closed the stait of Hormoze, passageway of many barrels of oil a day.  He feared that the cowboy diplomacy of Bush and McCain, as well as the self interested policies of Israel,  would lead to another Mideast confrontation and further stop the flow of oil from that region.  Never mindthat the confrontation with Iran is over nuclear weapons that would decimate almost any European city and some countries. 

Now I know that some people are worried about their planned trip to Qesham Island in the strait of Hormoze and they are likely undecided voters who don’t want to be trapped on this dolphin shaped island of 75,000 when Iran closes the gates.  Now don’t worry, Obama’s comments are off the cuff and lack any real merit.  But in the event the attack happens and you are trapped, you should consider which Presidential candidate is best suited to get you out. 

Sen Obama proposes talking. And talking. And talking.  Until finally on day 444 the talking continued.  Of course he may throw in some sanctions along the way but talking is the main talking point. 

Sen McCain proposes talking. And talking.  And bombing.  And bombing.  And Bombing.  Until finally on day 30 the bombing stops and a combined force of troops from around the world move in and secure your release as well as the opening of the strait and the end of nuclear weapons in Iran. 

Of course under President Obama you would save a lot of money on gas here at home.  You may also get to see the Harra sea forest,  the laying of the eggs of the rare hawk bills turtle and the ruins of the Fort of Portuguese from the 16th century.  All of this while enjoying temperatures ranging from 50c to 22c ( that’s 71-122 degrees in America). 

Under President McCain you will still have a chance to see these things but in a lot less time.  And provided you are taken hostage, with President McCain you’ll be a bargaining chip for less time and probably safer because no one wants to see America angry with a former POW President that has a strong record of National defense.

So as you plan your trip to the lovely Qeshm Island don’t listen to Sen Obama’s rants about oil prices.  He’s just trying to scare you.  Relax and enjoy–you’ve earned it,  after you send in your absentee ballot.  Just remember, how long you want to stay depends on who you vote for in November.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Iran_locator.png

Thoughts of a gun clinging racist religious zeolot

 Frustrated that working class Americans in small towns are voting overwhelmingly for Sen Clinton in the Democratic primary,  Sen Obama, at a private fundraiser,  stated that these Americans are bitter Americans who “cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”.  Sen Obama could have said “Dumb hicks can’t think for themselves” as an explanation for his lack of rural votes and made his speech a few minutes shorter.

Having lived in one of these small towns that Sen Obama speaks of for most of my life, I can honestly say that we do not bring our guns to church on a weekly basis.  I can also honestly say the more LEGAL IMMIGRANTS (note the word immigrants does not denote only Mexican, illegal immigrants are illegal even if they are form Poland),  the better.  After all would I know the joys of Halushki without legal immigration?  Finally, I can also say that when we sit around after Sunday mass drinking from our full beer cans while we shoot the empties, that the discussions we have are more intelligent than shouting ” G-D immigrants took my job!, How ’bout that number 23? , boy is he tearin’ up the track today!” 

As a member in good standing of rural America, I am personally offended by the remarks Sen Obama made at this fundraiser.  I go to church on Sundays, not because I feel disenfranchised with America but because I believe in God and want to show him the respect He deserves.  We pray for America but not because of America.  I don’t go to church as a sign of hopelessness but as a sign of hope for my future.  Faith is personal not political, I would have thought Sen Obama would have learned that when Rev Wright’s racist and anti-American comments were the focus of his campaign. 

I also own guns and believe my rights under the Constitution are violated if laws are made to strip ownership of my guns from me.  I don’t cling to my guns for emotional support as Sen Obama suggested but rather hold on to them because I am afforded that right under the Constitution.  My kids will grow up learning the dangers and values of gun ownership because as Americans they have that right.  There is no sense of frustration at America or her politics/politicians as a gun owner.  In fact, just the opposite is true. I own guns because I love America and believe in her politics and politicians.  ( Not that if you don’t own a gun you don’t love America.)

I am also anti ILLEGAL immigration not because they sneak in at night, steal jobs and then send money back to relatives who repeat the cycle, all the while taking advantage of all the great things America can offer.  I am against ILLEGAL immigration because there is a way to legally enter this country, a way that my ancestors had to follow before they became citizens.  My ancestors had to learn English if they wanted to work or even get by in America.  They held on the traditions of their homeland, traditions I still enjoy today, while adapting to the American way.  In many cases immigrants benefit American society and add a dimension many other counties in the world can never hope to enjoy.  I am also against illegal immigration because in the warped political thinking of today’s liberal leaders, illegal immigrants argue for and receive more Constitutional rights than legal immigrants to or citizens of the USA.  Yes, we need a solution to the border issue, but simply put until a viable solution is on the table, ILLEGAL IS ILLEGAL, there is no nuance here, unless you are a lawyer or politician in the Democratic party. 

 If Sen Obama knows the “buzz words” of racism as he has professed (see previous post about monkeys for more), then he should also learn that rural Americans know the “buzzwords” spoken about them that translate into the phrase “Dumb Hicks!” No matter how he tries to spin these comments, they will follow him into the general election.  Add this comment to his wife’s pride comment, Rev Wright’s statements and his “typical white person” comments and we have the beginning of a very bad campaign for Sen Obama.  But what do I know, I’m just a gun clinging racist religious zealot from PA. 

 

McCain is too liberal?

I don’t understand the comment ” If Obama is running against McCain, I’m voting for Obama!”.  I like to look at the issues, especially when voting for a President or Congressman.  I can’t stand feel good rhetoric or visions of bridges that lead to the 21st century and beyond.  Anyone voting against McCain based on his “liberal” views needs to seriously look at Sen Obama’s views on the issues. 

On poverty, Obama is willing to establish 20 “Promise Neighborhoods” that will offer all kinds of social welfare services in areas that have a  high concentration of poor and neglected families.  He will sign a Fatherhood act that will basically establish Fatherhood as a right, not a privilege, as long as you pay for that right.  He will increase the minimum wage every year, destroying an untold amount of small businesses.  In raising the minimum wage every year, he will also destroy the idea that education is the road to success.  The minimum wage was established as an incentive to move beyond your current status, not maintain it.  It will also allow employers to forego merit raises knowing that their employees will receive a raise every year anyway. 

On Diplomacy, Sen Obama will be out of Iraq in 16 months, believing we can not win despite significant progress in that country. He will maintain a presence somewhere in the region, however, and be ready to make strategic strikes in the Middle East if necessary.  (Presumably with the military he just told they were not good enough in Iraq) He would offer Iran the chance to be involved in world affairs through the WTO and give them economic investments.  The same Iran currently waving signs that state”Death to America” while they burn our flag. The same Iran that has a leader who believes the Holocaust was not necessarily a bad thing. He will also go to the table with other leaders in the world with no preconditions,  a tactic that puts America in a weaker position to negotiate in its best interest.

On the economy, more tax breaks will be offered than ever before but not for anyone who seeks to better themselves by making more money.  Tax breaks for the wealthy, defined as those making from $50,000-$75,000 or more, would be ended and only those people who make less or have more kids would be eligible for any tax relief.  Sen Obama has also developed a multitude of programs that give money to anyone who wants it.  College would be partially funded by the government,  educational debts would be forgiven if you pledge yourself to national service in some form and any time you want a new job your health-care benefits and retraining will be protected and paid for by the government. 

On Immigration, Sen Obama will support sweeping amnesty to promote “family” over “country”.  Sen Obama seeks to fix the illegal immigration problem simply by offering more help to Mexico economically and increasing the number of border agents but not closing the borders.  And while closing the borders entirely is not possible or will not solve the problem or preserve America as the melting pot it once was, supporting legal immigration with more simply more bureaucracy is not the solution.  This is an issue that must preserve America and its values, not impose the values of other cultures on America. Admittedly, both parties need to do a better job of protecting American values on this issue. 

Can someone please explain why Obama over McCain?  Sen Clinton is even less liberal than Sen Obama!  If the worst offense made by McCain is Mccain-Feingold, or McCain-Kennedy or even McCain-Lieberman,  which seem to be the big 3 issues, why not get past these instead of voting for a complete polar opposite?  I understand conservative values and the need to those values in the voting booth, but Obama over McCain?  Hopefully, this is all just talk.

Fiscal Responsibility

Being extremely interested in politics, I have been seeing and hearing a lot of negative talk about John  McCain and how he is not a real conservative. Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, two people I enjoy listening to, have come out against McCain because he opposed the tax cuts in 2001 and other policies he has voted against during the Bush years. In my view Rush and Ann are completely off base. The facts are John  McCain wants to be responsible with the spending in Washington so when a bill comes up that has a ton of pork attached, it should be vetoed. In my local county, pork is given out daily. Congressmen Kanjorski and Casey add so much pork to bills in Washington that PA could stop paying state tax and live off the government. It is a huge problem in Washington when you can get 1 million dollars to study cranberries but it comes attached to appropriations for the war or additional tax cuts.

As for the current round of tax rebates being discussed, keep them. Give me a long term solution that will stimulate the economy over the long term, as the 2001 cuts have (and McCain voted to make them permanent) and if you still want to give me a rebate, fine but show me the cuts in spending. It makes no sense to be a conservative who supports pork barrel spending. It’s irresponsible and only inflates the national debt more.

Published in: on January 21, 2008 at 8:40 pm  Comments (1)  
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Immigration

Amnesty! Ouch, it hurts to say it. 12 million people who didn’t follow the rules are now allowed in this country and English is a second language. The borders are still open and border agents are still being overwhelmed. How did we let it get this far? Oh yeah, we did NOTHING!

That is how the current debate is going in Washington and around the country. It seems we are damned if we do and damned if we don’t! Locally, Mayor Lou from Hazelton,PA has tried to do something but he was called a racist because he must have been talking only about 1 ethnic group. Better yet, he was told it wasn’t his territory to enforce or enact immigration standards. Nationally, Bush has tried, McCain has tried(together w/ Dems) but still we are facing a huge crisis because no one can agree. Eventually, we will have to face facts, 12 million people cannot be shipped on planes,trains or automobiles  back to their homeland.  Eventually,some sort of amnesty deal will have to happen. But it does not have to be a horrible thing, it can be good for America. How?

First, we close the borders before amnesty takes place. We have to do this no matter what or any plan will fail. Follow the legal paths to get in and a WELCOME TO THE USA sign will greet you upon entry. Stop the backwards argument about “what about the people following legal paths now? “. That’s an appeasement argument made to get votes. Legal paths exist and should be enforced starting today. When the borders are closed there is no argument about how you come to the United States.

Second, it can unite Americans to finally embrace English as a national language. A debate a couple hundred years in the making, we can but aside our idiotic convictions that people lose who they are when they lose their language. Families will still practice their cultural traditions but Americans can finally stop buying T-shirts that say “Why the hell should I press 1 for English?” and alienating whole segments of the population we pass on the street.

Third, Americans can once again celebrate their patriotism without being called a racist. There was a time when if you entered the country you had to know the Pledge of Allegiance and a rudimentary history of the USA. Now we live in a time when practicing patriotism is equivalent to racism. America can only survive as long as its people know her history and practices. July 4 is a pretty important date here in the states. May 5, not so much. Flying the flag should be the rule not the exception. And go ahead fly the Italian,Mexican, German, etc.. flag too, just under the American flag because we should be Americans first, nationalists second.

Fourth, Americans will be able to embrace the future without a sense of dread. America was built on an idea, that’s it, nothing more. The founders and settlers of America moved forward with this idea through all challenges because they embraced what was ahead. They had their debates and they moved on with their lives with a clear purpose and one national goal. To be sure there were times when this didn’t work out so well and times when the debate was swept under the rug for a later generation (IE the Civil War can be traced back to inaction on the issue of slavery by the founders). But for the most part the idea that America would only last if we worked together as one nation united, trumped all other ideas about individuality in the sea of diversity that America promised. Today, there seems to be no sense of future because we mired in debates about who belongs and who doesn’t. What is right and what is wrong. Who will we offend and who will we appease.  The future will come, we can’t stop it. How we look forward to the future largely determines its outcome.

As Americans we only need to focus on something and we can do it as a nation. Amnesty may not seem the best solution, but if we do it correctly, America can become stronger at home and abroad.